The wonderful staff at the National Library of Australia have outdone themselves with this fantastic write-up of the Australian Comic Arts festival last Feburary. Although the library I work in has an extensive graphic novel collection, it is not often that I have the opportunity to interact with fellow librarians who share my intense passion for the medium. Finding librarians who truly understand (or want to understand) the ins and out of the Australian and international comic book industry, and the challenges that creators and librarians face, is a rare honour indeed.
As I was moderating other panels, I’m disappointed to say that I was unable to attend the library focused workshops provided by the brilliant Sydney based librarians Karen Dwarte and Alex Hammond. It was, however, great to see such a comprehensive write up in the NLA blog regarding not only the issues faced by collections teams, but also in providing some understanding and reason to comic creators who may want to connect, or distribute their work via library systems. They were spot on in saying that libraries are really looking for content across all age and reading levels, that is of value to the community, and that it is easier for them to loan graphic novels/trades rather than single issues due to shelf-life/damage issues. (hope I got that right!)
It was also interesting to read more about the NLA collection process for Legal Deposit; although I must point out, that in saying that Paul’s comics won’t ever be reprinted, they are referring to copies of the earlier single issues and one-shots only, not newer versions of ‘The Soldier Legacy’ or other work. This series was recently given an upgrade into 2 trades (as they are more popular), making the single issues limited edition, until sold out at conventions.
Big thank you to the National Library of Australia for taking Paul and I on such an amazing behind the scenes tour, for taking the time to chat about old back issues and their amazing work in comic book preservation, and for giving us a mention in the write-up below also (I’m not worthy!). It gave me excellent bragging rights at work 🙂
To read the full NLA blog post, click here: https://www.nla.gov.au/blogs/behind-the-scenes/2016/04/19/connecting-with-comic-creators